Industry group promotes new 'good neighbor' policies for drillers
The nations largest oil and gas trade group has unveiled a new set of community relations guidelines–aimed at improving interactions between drillers and the people who live near hydraulic fracturing sites.
The American Petroleum Institute released the 9-page document today, calling it a set of “good neighbor” policies.
In a telephone press conference Wednesday with reporters, API’s New York State spokeswoman Karen Moreau repudiated questions about whether the industry has been too slow in responding to public concerns about the boom in shale development and the safety of hydraulic fracturing.
“I spend a great deal of my time traveling across New York focusing on this very subject,” she said. “We don’t take a page out of the playbook of radical environmental groups who are not held to the same standards.”
The new policies come just over a week after New York State’s highest court upheld the right of towns there to ban fracking operations.
API’s director of standards, David Miller, said the policies are not a reaction to that court decision. He says the trade group has been developing the guidelines since 2011 and included input from its member companies, as well as state regulators, environmental groups and unions.
“This was a very open process,” he said. “We had quite a long list of people involved.”
Although the guidelines are not mandatory, API encourages oil and gas operators to be transparent and engage with the community throughout all of the phases.
The new manual is targeted at upstream operations– the exploration and production of oil and gas– not at midstream or downstream operations, such as transportation and refining.